President Goodluck Jonathan has said that his strategy for combating corruption is not by indiscriminate arrest and jailing of people.
Speaking to party supporters at the flag-off of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos on Thursday, Mr. Jonathan said the best way to tackle corruption was to strengthen public institutions.
“I stand by due process. Any country that does not respect due process is a jungle,” Mr. Jonathan said.
“They say to be strong is to jail people indiscriminately. For 300 years. Is that where you want to go?”
The President began his speech by stating that he was addressing young Nigerians who would be voting for the first time.
He asked them to verify from their elderly uncles and aunties the truth about the government led by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress [APC] Muhammadu Buhari, in the eighties, adding that they must choose between a vote to be relevant or a vote to be treated as a “nonsense person.”
“They said they will fight insecurity. When he (General Buhari) was Head of State, did he buy one rifle for the Nigerian soldiers?” Mr. Jonathan said. “Ask them what they did with the defence budget.”
President Jonathan also used the opportunity to apologize to federal civil servants for the delay in their December salary, attributing it to the IPPIS system which, he said, shut down after officials attempted to divert some of the salaries.
Mr. Jonathan also laughed off media reports that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, had thrown their weight behind the opposition party.
“Orkar, the leader of MEND, is in South African prison because he was procured by some Nigerians to assassinate me,” Mr. Jonathan said.
“The man who is in South African prison for killing Nigerians is endorsing some people.”